In today's climate of political and socio-economic change, communication can play a decisive role in promoting food security and rural development. By fostering a dialogue between rural people and other sectors of society, communication processes can empower both women and men to provide information and knowledge as a basis for change and innovation. They can enable people to take decisions concerning their own livelihood and thereby increase their overall involvement in development. More specifically, gender-sensitive communication processes can give rural women a voice to advocate changes in policies, attitudes and social behaviour or customs that negatively affect them.
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"History will not repeat itself in Guatemala if indigenous women have their voices heard. With today's user-friendly communication media available to them, these women will establish themselves as a conscious and participating force in future world events."
Technical Adviser and Trainer
Centre for Mayan Women Communicators
"We live in the `age of communication', but the full impact that information and knowledge can have on development is just starting to be seen. This is especially true for rural women, who shoulder much of the agricultural work and other rural activities in developing countries, where they are responsible for producing most of the food. Harnessing the power of communication - through traditional folk media, rural radio and, where available, television and the Internet - is critical both for us to learn from women and to help them learn about new ideas, practices and opportunities. The use of modern communication technologies, integrated with local channels and networks, will enable more women to be heard and reached. A common challenge, for women and men alike, is to exploit the power of communication processes as a means of realizing their potential as well as achieving equitable and sustainable development."
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